KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Several Kansas City-area clergy members gathered in the 18th and Vine District to speak about the verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial.
Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was found guilty on all counts, including second-degree murder, in the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man.
The clergy members said the verdict is an historic moment, but represents only one victory in a long history of injustices.
“It's the first time in my life where three strikes equal a home run,” Pastor Darron Edwards, of United Believers Community Church, said.
Pastor Cassandra Wainright also spoke on the verdict.
“When you think about what has happened today with the verdict that was rendered, we just want to say that finally we justice, for just us,” Wainright said.
In Kansas City and the country, there is still work to be done, according to Emanuel Cleaver III, pastor of St. James United Methodist Church.
“Even when there’s a small victory like this, we celebrate, because we see it as some sort of progress,” Cleaver said. “But, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.”
A strong focus of their speeches was the violence affecting Black men in Kansas City.
“In this city, we need to address the violence against Black young men that has rendered many of them dead,” an unidentified speaker said.
Another speaker pointed out some of those deaths have come at the hands of police.
Ultimately, the verdict represents an opportunity for the community to come together to problem solve.
“A Black male gets killed in Kansas City every day," Pat Clarke, a community activist, said. "We don’t have marches. Sometimes the news doesn’t even show up. I do know this: This is an opportunity to bring us together as one. God said ‘Let there be light.’ Can you see me now?”
Others echoed the message of unity.
"We have to begin to look at people not as Black, not as white, not as brown, not as yellow. We gotta get to a point where we look at each other as citizens of this single community. We gotta get to a point where we stop talking about color and talking about the issues of injustice," Pastor Gregory Nichols of Mount Horeb Baptist Ministries said.